MPs warn smart meters carry cyber attack risk

Jessica Morris
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Energy consumption in Europe
Whitehall wants every home and business to be offered a smart meter by the end of 2020 (Source: Getty)

MPs have warned today that the government's plan to install smart meters in every house and business across the UK by 2020 carries cyber security risks.

The science and technology committee called on the government "to do more to convince and reassure customers that the technology is safe from being hacked".

This came despite it finding "GCHQ’s involvement in designing the security for the smart metering system gives confidence that security is being taken seriously," the committee said in a report.

The World Energy Council told City A.M. earlier this year that the UK is at risk of a potentially devastating attack against its energy infrastructure.

Whitehall wants to install 53m meters in over 30m premises over the next four years.

The programme was a flagship coalition policy which was designed to encourage consumers and businesses to keep a closer eye on their energy and gas usage, as well as make switching between providers easier. By linking up directly with the utility companies it would also end the need for cumbersome manual meter readings and estimated billing.

But the committee also criticised the government for failing to adequately communicate the full range of benefits smart meters can offer to consumers.

Dr Tania Mathias, interim chair of the committee, said: "It would be easy to dismiss the smart meter project as an inefficient way of saving a small amount of money on energy bills, but the evidence suggests there are major national benefits, including establishing a smarter, more energy secure grid."

"The government needs to have more clarity around this so householders are clear about the true benefits."

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